Does the world need high-tech luggage? According to the people behind Trunkster, who pitch on Shark Tank on Friday evening, the answer is yes. As they told Heavy in an interview before the program’s airing, it was their own experience with travel that led them to start brainstorming about how to improve the one static travel accessory.
“We had been living and working out of our suitcases for over two years around the world and became intimately aware with the frustrations of existing luggage. It began as a fun side project to try to come up with our dream luggage and snowballed into an idea that really took off after our Kickstarter success.”
So, how does Trunkster cater to the high-tech, busy traveler? By providing all the bells and whistles necessary to keep you on track at the airport, use your devices and even find your beloved suitcase if it goes astray.
There’s a built-in scale so you can immediately tell if your luggage is overweight — no unpacking at check-in. It has a charging station so your tablet will never run out of juice, as long as your bag is nearby. And if there is a mishap during transit, you can find out where your stuff is using the Trunkster’s GPS.
Tune in to @ABCSharkTank tonight at 9pm to see the Trunkster cofounders make fools of themselves on live tv! pic.twitter.com/t4TWuWS6V5
— Trunkster (@trunkstercase) December 5, 2015
Trunkster also likes to brag about its most noticeable feature: it is a zipper-free bag. The case opens through a sliding door. In fact, on its Indiegogo page — where the company has already raised more than $1.5 million — Trunkster defines itself as “Intelligent Zipperless Luggage.” It’s obviously very durable, and is promoted as one of the few innovative products in modern luggage.
— Lee.H (@Lee2170) January 20, 2015
Carter Matt, in its Shark Tank preview, agreed it was one of the more interesting products to come before the investors. However, Carter Matt questions whether the company will get a deal. Trunkster may enter the Tank with a high valuation — often a Shark Tank pitch-killer — and it’s unclear whether the company has any sales.
But, in addition to their Indiegogo funding, Trunkster also ran a wildly-successful Kickstarter campaign, raising a phenomenal $1.3 million on a goal of $50,000.
They also may have invested heavily in research and development, so there may be substantial debt on the company. In response to Heavy‘s inquiry, the Trunkster team revealed they had to do a lot of work to bring the product to where it is.
“We believe this is the first-ever roll-top luggage, so we had to start from scratch. Over the course of a year we hired several industrial designers and engineers to figure out the best way to manufacture a suitcase that could be strong enough to have moving parts while remaining light enough for practical use.”
There are two Trunkster models, a carry-on and checked bag, and they come with slightly different features.
As CNet reported in November, 2014, Trunkster was just one of three next generation luggage companies on the hunt for customers and funding. At that time, at least one — Bluesmart — also had GPS. So it’s unclear whether Trunkster is unique enough to strike the fancy of the Shark Tank investors.
Trunkster’s team revealed their time on the carpet was more than an hour, but they remember few details about the pitch. Shark Tank viewers will see a compressed segment lasting only a few minutes. Then audiences will learn whether Trunkster gets a bite.
Trunkster will pitch Shark Tank during the episode airing Friday night at 9 p.m. on ABC.
[Image courtesy of Kickstarter]